Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Return of the Soldier, Rebecca West

I've been busy of late, and away with family, here's a post from a book I read last month!  I'm back to normal now, here's to more posting!

The Return of the Soldier was an unexpected book, a moving story about the tragedy of war and lost love.  Another author I'd never read, but who is just so amazing that I've already ordered more of her work.  Rebecca West is a great find, and given she's a major feminist literary figure, again, I'm kinda embarrassed that this is my first encounter with her!

The Return of the Soldier is one of her first novels, published in 1918, it is a beautifully told story of a "shell shocked" man, who develops amnesia, thinking that he is only 20, and in love with a woman other than his wife.  Our narrator is There is some shocking classism in this book, at first I was a tad jaw dropped over it, but as the book goes on, quickly realised that this was an essential part of its message.  The woman Chris thinks he is love with is now a middle-aged married woman who is barely middle class (apparently) and the scathing descriptions of the narrator were pretty grating at first.

This book is really about love, responsiblity, and the horror of war.  The importance of class in the novel is smoothly explored, from the jarring descriptions at the start, to the narrator (Chris' cousin, Jenny) coming to side with Margaret (the long lost love).  This is a beautifully written novella that was an unexpected joy, highly recommended!


This was an eread on Kindle for iPad.

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